Midfielder Maxi Moralez, one of the best players in Major League Soccer (MLS) since joining in 2017, announced on Friday that he was leaving New York City FC to return to Argentina.
After six seasons in the Big Apple, the 35-year-old athlete has decided to take one last lap with his training team, the Racing Club. In a written statement, Moralez admitted it was one of the toughest decisions of his career.
The option for the 2023 season in Moralez’s contract was activated at the end of the campaign, but the NYCFC agreed to release him from his obligations.
“We understand it was Maxi’s dream to return to Argentina and we know it was an extremely difficult decision for him. We will miss him, but ultimately, we want the best for him and his family,” said sporting director David Lee via press release.
The small attacking midfielder became New York City’s fourth Designated Player and made franchise history with 26 goals and 69 assists in 162 regular season games. He helped NYCFC win the MLS Cup in 2021.
“Maxi has earned his place in the history of this club. He will always be recognized in New York as an incredible player, whose presence and leadership were vital in helping us win our first trophies,” added Lee.
Moralez was voted in the 2019 MLS XI of the Year. He is the club’s all-time leading assist-scorer and also its most prolific goalscorer in playoff games.
St. Louis adds depth
St. Louis CITY SC continued their preparation for their inaugural season by acquiring South African midfielder Njabulo Blom on Friday.
The 23-year-old’s contract is valid for two seasons, with two more years optional.
Blom played with the Kaizer Chiefs, in his country’s top league, where St. Louis head coach Bradley Carnell also played during his career on the court. He had eight assists in 94 games.
The defensive midfielder made his national team debut on September 6, 2021.